Last week we asked readers to tell us under what circumstances they would be likely to use a public restroom reserved for the other gender. We’ve all been in the situation where there’s a long line for one restroom and a very short or non-existent line for the other (although this tends to happen more for women’s rooms, which lack urinals). If you’re a woman, is it okay to use the men’s room? If you’re a man, is it okay to use the women’s room? Should there even be separate restrooms based on gender?
We asked about the situation where there’s a short line at the other gender’s restroom and a long line at their own. Most of our readers, it turns out, would just wait it out, as this graph shows:
Male or female, everyone is significantly less likely to use the opposite-gender room when it’s a multi-stall affair and the men’s room has open urinals. If it’s a single-stall restroom with a lock on the door, both males and females are more likely to use the opposite gender room compared to multi-stall restrooms. But they’re still more likely to just wait it out for their own gender restroom.
Interestingly, women are significantly more likely to use the men’s room in this scenario than men are to use the women’s room — that’s the only gender-difference in our bathroom usage results. Does this reflect a general consensus of opinion on who should be allowed to use the other-gender restroom?
It does. Both male and female respondents are significantly more likely to say that it’s okay to for women to use the men’s room than for men to use the women’s room. There’s no significant difference between each gender’s response to these questions.
Most men and women agree that gender-segregated restrooms are a good idea. About 15 percent of respondents said it depends. As you might expect based on the willingness to use opposite-gender restrooms with a single stall, most readers said that it was okay for single-stall restrooms to be gender neutral, but not multiple stall rooms, especially if they have open urinals.
We asked many other questions in our study, and found some interesting correlations, which I’ll summarize for you in two tables:
That’s going to have to be it for now. Scienceblogs is being updated this weekend and there will be no posting or commenting here after 1 p.m. EST today. However, I’ve created a post on Wordmunger.com if you’d like to comment on today’s post.
Update: Upgrade complete! There are a few comments and some additional analysis on the Word Munger post. Feel free to continue the discussion either over there or right here.